Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Trip Out East

The girls playing at the farm my father grew up on.

The kiddos and I loaded up the van last week and headed out on a 570 mile trip. Although Mr. Cherry couldn't make it, I did pick up my mom 250 miles into the trip as my shotgun and extra set of hands. I have to admit that my expectations were set pretty low.
Enjoying a rhubarb snack.
Spending the large part of two days in a vehicle to get there and then not having much of a schedule while there wasn't looking too promising to this momma.
Playing "Pooh Sticks" with dandelions in a creek.
And you know what? My kiddos far exceeded my expectations. They rode fairly well in the van. They functioned happily on less sleep. And they survived three church like services in the matter of a day and a half. Thank goodness for all of the family and friends that helped out! However, it is good to be back in our own home and in our own beds!
Auntie and Uncle snuggles!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summertime and the Livin Is Easy

As a former teacher (and student) I still have the joy of looking forward to summer. And while I don't have a school year tying me down, yet, the sweet days of summer are still somewhat of a relaxed time around our house.
I try not to have too much of a schedule in the summer and leave plenty of time for the kinds of activities that are a hallmark of summer days. Swimming, playing in the yard, going to the park, just to name a few. Summer mornings we apply the sunscreen and bug spray and head out to enjoy the outdoors.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Foodie Friday: Alice Springs Chicken Knockoff Recipe

We used to have an Outback Steak House in town and then one day it just up and closed. Sad, but true. It was a restaurant we liked to go to when we wanted a sit down meal. I loved to order the Alice Springs Chicken and Mr. Cherry liked ordering a steak. When I saw this Alice Springs knockoff at Favorite Family Recipes, I knew I wanted to try it. This last weekend was super nice and Mr. Cherry ended up grilling the chicken breasts. Then we brought them in and topped them to broil a few minutes in the oven. They were really good. Not quite Outback, but still delicious.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Up Cycled Animals

In this post I will describe some of the process that goes into the up-cycled friends available in my Etsy shop, kiki b omi designs. You can see the friends that are currently available in my shop.
A few years ago I was applying to enter a totally awesome craft fair here in the area. It is a coveted fair to get into with a very indie vibe. I knew that I would need something special in order to make the cut and get a booth. And that is when my line of up-cycled stuffed animals were born! When I come across used clothing, whether from my closet, a garage sale, or a thrift store, I often see the potential for a new creation. For example, when I found a rust colored plaid shirt, I knew it would be perfect for a fox.
I paired it with a vintage handkerchief I had on hand and Gloria the Fox was born. I have been hanging onto a pink chenille bedspread for years. Recently I got brave and cut into it to make some of my up-cycled pigs.
This is Compass. I made him for a custom order. The customer wanted brown and teal for the shirt and tie. I just so happened to have a brown and teal plaid skirt that I was going to get rid of that I knew would make the perfect shirt for the fair hog.
And just like that, we have ourselves a fun and unique newly up-cycled friend! Since the customer already had a name in mind, I didn't have to come up with a name for this one, but that really is one of my favorite parts of the creation process. Each friend comes with a perfectly selected name to match their personalities.
Sometimes the choice is obvious, like this camo puppy names Hunter. Other times it takes a little more creative thinking on my part.
I don't always know where the names come from, like this gingham cutie named Domino. But usually it just comes to me and seems to fit. I love making each of my creations unique. There is something so fulfilling about creating individual items rather than mass producing.
Eventually you end up with an awesome cast of characters like these!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Video Chat with Five Year Old Peachy

Last year I started asking Peachy some questions on her birthday with the thought of asking her the same questions every year. This year I decided to video tape the Q and A session. We happened to start watching some of the home video clips one evening recently and I was reminded of how important it is to video your children. Pictures are great, but nothing captures their personality and freezes it in time like a live action shot. You forget their little voices and mannerisms.
Here is the link to last year's post and here is this year's video. I caught captured her in her element, creating art!
I liked how many of the answers remained the same. It was fun to talk with her and compare the two after taping this year's answers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Traveling on the Road With Kids

This post is in honor of a road trip the kiddos and I will be taking this week. We travel fairly regularly with our children. Our families both live four or more hours away, so we make a four plus hour trip many times a year. And that, in my opinion, is one of the things that make kids good travelers. They just get used to being in the car and the fact that they will have to stay in their seats until we get to our destination. Here are a few other tips for traveling.
1) Pack plenty of toys, books, and activities:
I always look through our toys before a trip and pick out some toys that are small and easily played with in a car. Since the girls enjoy coloring and using stickers, I try to pack some crayons, stickers, and notebooks. (I like to pack Crayola Twistables. They don't break easily and also don't easily color on clothing or car seats.) I also make sure to pack plenty of books for the kids to look at.
This is a shameless plug, but the art caddies that I make and sell in my Etsy shop are perfect for traveling!
2) Pack plenty of car friendly snacks:
I don't really like to stop to eat when we are traveling. That doesn't mean that we don't, but I plan to eat as much as we can on the go. I like to pack somewhat healthy and car-friendly options. Thankfully there are lots of choices out there these days. Bananas and Cutie oranges are great all natural choices. Fruit pouches are great as are individual yogurt tubes. String cheese, cereal, and pretzels are good as well. Of course you will want to have wet wipes handy to clean up messy fingers, faces, and car seats! A tip I picked up from my sister-in-law is to pack along plastic cups to be snack cups for in the car seats. Just pour some crackers or pretzels into the cup and the kids can put it in their cup holders for easy eating. We also make sure to have water bottles along for the entire family.
3) Be prepared to stop:
Before kids we used to hit the road and drive as long as we possibly could. Often we would make the entire trip without stopping. Obviously with kids, that isn't really an option, so plan some extra time into your trip. We have found that we really like to stop at rest stops. Then we are able to use the bathroom facilities, let the kids run off some extra energy on the grounds, and use the picnic facilities. Other good options are city parks and local attractions.
4) Use technology:
Our current van has a built in video system, however, we rarely make use of it. It does make the perfect diversion for those pull-your-hair-out moments when we just can't take it anymore or when the driver really needs to focus. I have mentioned these before, but we love the Scholastic videos. I also love to use books on cd. Our library has a great selection. We also make use of smart phone technology to find places to stop and check out traffic.
5) Stay organized:
If you are bringing all of these items along, you need a place to store to keep it! I love using Thirty-One totes for traveling. We use Keep It Caddies to hold toys. They are great for keeping the items together, but accessible. I also love using the Large Utility Tote for other items we might need throughout the trip.
Hope that this helps you out with any summer travel plans you may have and I would love to hear your travel tips!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shortcake: Three Months Old

Our little man is three months old this week. This month he has really gotten much more aware. He also has found his little hands. He loves putting them in his mouth and will also bat at hanging toys with them. When he is awake and alert, he doesn't really like to be snuggled. Instead he cranes his head and neck around to get a better look at whatever interests him.
He has also started to do this while on the floor and often ends up on his side. He watches his sisters closely, but doesn't always like it when they come over to play with him. (Smart man to be leery, too.) I don't have an official size, but I think he is around 15 pounds. This month he progressed to size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes, which he already fills out. He really hasn't lost much of his newborn hair, but the new hair that is coming in is lots lighter, even blonde and his eyes are seeming to stay a bright blue like Cream's.
His sleep habits don't really have a distinct pattern, but he is a good sleeper and I can't complain. Sometimes he sleeps from 8 at night until about 3 or 4 in the morning and goes back to sleep nicely after eating. At other times he is a bit more restless and requires multiple paci insertions throughout the night or maybe an earlier feeding. And we don't have any real nap schedule at this point. I just put him down when he seems like he needs it.
This month he has also somewhat turned into a momma's boy. (Which just fills my heart up.) He is still a really good baby, really only getting upset when he is over tired and will reward us with smiles, laughs, and coos if the mood is right. But, he can also stare someone down and give a mean eyebrow furrow if the mood isn't.
And for comparison sake, here is Peachy at 3 months:
Look at those cheeks!!
And Cream:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Pajama Party for Peachy

Me, my mom, and the kids all pajama-ed up for the party!

This last Thursday we were able to celebrate Peachy's birthday with our friends. This year we decided on a pajama themed party. Everyone wore their jammies and we ate breakfast!
I started by ordering these invitations from ellieoh designs on etsy. I just had them printed as a 4 by 6 photo.

I decorated with sun and moon printables that I found around the internet. You can check them out on my Pinterest Pajama Party board. I also cut out some sun shapes with my Silhouette. I used large ones to put under the plates to look like the sun.  I also gathered up all of the night time books that we had and set them out around the house.
I draped a sheet over the table and added a pillow to make it look like a bed. I already had our chalk board decorated with You Are My Sunshine, so I added a number 5 and surrounded it with pictures of Peachy.
For activities we did coloring sheets, musical pillows, and a donut walk. In place of a cake we stacked up donuts on a plate and topped them with candles.
To thank our guests for coming, we gave out mini cereals in a bowl with a spoon.
We all had a lot of fun. It was a pretty easy party to throw together, which is always a bonus. (Plus I had the help of my trusty assistant, my mom!)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Screen Free Week 2014: Recap

The girls entertaining themselves with a baby walker. Not a mother sanctioned activity.

Last week the kids and I participated in Screen Free Week. (A side note, both my mother and my uncle assumed that screen free meant the time of year you can have the windows of your house open without screens to keep bugs out. Must be a generational thing.)
Peachy making a sticker and drawing creation.

Our week went well. It helped that it was a busy week for us, so we really didn't miss our screen time. I did log on to check my email everyday and did go onto Facebook a few times, but for the most part I avoided the screen as well.
Outside time!

The girls came up with various activities pretty much on their own. We also filled our week with party prep for Peachy's birthday, swimming lessons, and a visit from grandma since Mr. Cherry was out of town. I was able to finish a book, which sorry to say, has been a while. (In case you were wondering, it was Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.)
Book reading

While I don't see us being screen free all of the time, the break was nice and I am hoping that it leads to more conscious decisions for screen usage in the future.
Cream getting creative with her extra time.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Peachy's Five!

Five years ago I first met our little Peachy.
F tive years agohis little red head girl made her way into our hearts and lives and made us parents for the first time.
Over the past five years we have watched her grow
and grow
and grow
and grow
and grow
and grow!
We have had five years of this spunky, sunny side up, creative, beautiful, loving girl in our lives. What a blessing and joy!